Bermondsey is a part of London with which I am totally unfamiliar. A few years ago, I went to a dinner party in one of those uber-cool apartments where kids are personae non gratae. I spent the evening entranced by the twinkling Shard, which appeared to sit just above the flat and which would ebb and glow under the clouds. I hadn’t been back since, so, it was a little odd that I found myself heading over for a double helping this week: first with the Travey Emin at White Cube, and then again, for Swinging London at the Fashion and Textile Museum. I was feeling quite the groovy chick by the end of the week.
Tracey Emin at the White Cube
How far do you wear your heart on the sleeve when it comes to art? When you go to a Tracey Emin, you expect nothing less. But in her latest exhibition at the White Cube, A Fortnight of Tears, she might as well have come naked. The show, which pours out Emin’s memories and emotions onto sculpture, photography, neon, painting and drawing, is the result of a whole lot of anger, love and loss.
“in this show I killed that shame, I’ve hung it on the walls…”
The artist has taken over the White Cube’s gargantuan white spaces and splashed the walls in pinks and blood reds, with visual stories of her abortion and the loss of her mother. One room is filled with 50 shades of selfie insomnia, giant photographs of the artist in various stages of sleeplessness. My favourite piece is the haunting The Mother, a kneeling nude that appears to cradle an unborn child. A 7-metre version will be installed on Oslo’s Museum Island in 2020, a beacon for femininity, protection and refuge. A Fortnight of Tears is on at the White Cube, Bermondsey until 7 April.
Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution at the Fashion and Textile Museum
Yeah baby! Bermondsey is swinging back to the 1950s, 60s and 70s with a new exhibiton at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution showcases the fashion, design and art of the Chelsea Set, with its leading revolutonaries Mary Quant, Terence Conran and Bernard and Laura Ashley. The exhibiton also includes textiles, ceramics and furniture by Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson.
From Mary Quant’s Bazaar boutique, to Conran’s shopping emporium, Habitat, these pioneers changed the way in which we would shop for fashion and homewares. And who knew Laura Ashley was such a 60s trendsetter, long before her Little House on the Prairie florals came to life, for which she is now so famous? With highlights that include Habitat’s range of iconc homeware designs, early Mary Quant smocks, make-up and PVC coats, as well as some swell furnishing fabrics and dresses by the Ashleys, this exhibition will have you rummaging in your trunks for that mini skirt or dare I say, one of Laura Ashley’s flowery numbers. Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution is on until 2 June.
Bedrooms of London at the Foundling Museum
Over at the Foundling Museum in Brunswick Square, a photography exhibition, Bedrooms of London, exposes the shocking reality of life for the 700,000 children living below the poverty line. In partnership with the Childhood Trust, the touching and oftentimes harrowing photographs taken by Katie Wilson are accompanied by the personal stories of the families living within each of the spaces. I urge you to take the kids to this one at half term. Have a wander around the rest of the Foundling when you’re done, a museum which has been at the forefront of helping change the lives of London’s poor and disadvantaged children. More details here.
Love Lost and Found at Fitzrovia Chapel
Love stories from the early 20th Century to the late 1960s will be celebrated at the Fitzrovia Chapel this Valentine’s Day, as part of an ambitious international project to reunite them with their families and descendants. The February exhibition called Love Lost and Found features original wedding photographs from the popular Vintage Wedding Photos project. Visitors will be encouraged to play detective, leaving thoughts about the origins of the photographs. 15 to 17 February. Free entry.
London Stories at the London Transport Museum
An exhibition featuring 100 illustrations has opened at the London Transport Museum. London Stories reveals the wealth of real and fictional tales and events inspired by, or having taken place in London, and embraces the quirky, amusing and bizarre as well as the day to day aspects of life in the capital. The illustrated stories include the Cross Bones Graveyard, a ghost bus, St Pineapple’s Cathedral, the Faceless Woman of Becontree, and the baffling story of an intrepid rabbit travelling alone on London Underground. On until 14 July. More details here.